We sailed from the port of indecision
Young and wild with oh so much to learn
Days turn into years as we tried to fool our fears
But to the port of indecision I returned
Jimmy Buffett - Lone Palm
Mount Elbert is a big, tall mountain. from the trailhead (for 2 wheel drive cars) it's about 6 miles to the top. Over those six miles, you climb about 5,000 feet -- almost a mile. We had hiked a good 8 miles on Thursday, round trip. Vicki was beat. I was beat. My legs were sore. We'd only made it 1/3 of the way up.
I poured over the maps to figure out where we'd been, where we went wrong, and how high we'd gotten, how far to the top.
But tomorrow was our last full day in Colorado (Saturday would be a travel day back home). I wasn't going to make Vicki go with me, and I knew it would take all day. On the other hand, it was right outside the back door, and I was acclimated to the altitude. Realistically, I wouldn't be back here any time soon. There are so many other places to visit. The weather couldn't be better. One variable was the snow. A lot of snow had obviously melted over the week, but it was still hard go judge the depth from a few miles away. Plus, I'd told people last year I wanted to climb Longs Peak -- but went too early and there was too much snow. This year, I'd said I wanted to climb Elbert. "I took a wrong turn" just sounded lame for some reason. Besides, I'd never actually climbed a 14er. Sniktau was a 13er, and I'd driven to the tops of Evans & Pike's.
I got all my stuff together the night before in case I decided to go. I lightened the pack, taking only things I thought couldn't go without. I did decide to add a second bladder of water (that's 4 lbs). I went to bed, and all I could think about was trying.
I got up just before 6:00am. I think I always knew I had to go. But it wasn't until morning when I admitted it out loud. Vicki knew, I think, that I would go. Sam, though he hadn't said it to me, thought I'd regret it if I didn't.
Vicki fixed me a nice breakfast. Sam dropped me off 0.2 miles past the 2wd trailhead.